The TWU hopes to hear from other industry representatives during the forum on how a potential Labor Government should implement the policy the party adopted in December, which will involve the setting up of a national system of Safe Rates to ensure safe standards of work including fair payments and conditions.
“The forum will be a good opportunity for drivers and the TWU to explain how we want the ALP policy to be implemented and to hear how others view the process, should Labor win the federal election in May. We believe binding federal regulation is the best way to ensure wealthy clients are held to account and standards are lifted so that the road transport industry is made fair and safe for both drivers and transport operators,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
“It is vital that the new policy addresses the fundamental problems facing drivers and transport operators. We want an end to low rates, wage theft, chronic fatigue, mental stress, contract rip-offs, 120-day payment terms, trucks put on the road in disrepair and looming bankruptcy. Over 500 people have been killed in truck crashes and over 1,000 transport businesses have gone bust in the last three years. In the space of four days last week, four drivers lost their lives. We have reached the end of the line on the race to the bottom. Now is the time for meaningful reform. We look forward to explaining this on Tuesday at the forum,” Kaine added.
The ALP at its national conference in December adopted into its policy platform a resolution stating: "A Federal Labor Government will, as a matter of urgency, legislate for a national system of Safe Rates consisting of an independent body with responsibility for safe standards of work including fair payments and conditions. This task has become more pressing given the emergence of new technology and the gig economy in passenger and freight transport which has accelerated the downward spiral throughout the transport industry.”
The principles underpinning the system are:
- Universal application of a system of binding, enforceable and safe standards. The standards will cover all parties in the transport supply chain/contract networks to ensure safe performance, planning and appropriate payments. The standards will focus on eliminating economic and contractual practices that place undue pressure on transport supply chains/contract networks
- Appropriate, enforceable payments and related conditions for all operators and workers, regardless of label
- The capacity to resolve (including where necessary through binding decisions) transport supply chain/contract networks disputes
- Appropriate and adequate enforcement regime
- Appropriate resourcing of supply chain/contract networks auditing, training and education through an industry fund.